Robot surgeons go on show

A new exhibition will open to the public tomorrow exploring robotic advances in surgery and prototype designs for micro-robots which can work inside the body.

Simon Chaplin, director of the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons, which is hosting the exhibition, says, ‘In the future, designers of new robotics will have to imagine operating inside the body. They’ll have to consider new design constraints – some of these prototypes would operate autonomously, and some would be partly controlled outside the body.’

According to Chaplin, much of the research and inspiration is taken from insects, invertebrates and parasites that ‘live inside each other’.

Exhibits will include a self-propelling ‘pill with legs’ and a capsule that can swim through the intestines and take photos.

Also on show will be a retrospective of robots in surgery over the past 20 years, featuring prototypes alongside videos and animations.

Other prototypes will include the Bloodbot – designed at Imperial College London – which can take blood samples locating a vein without the help of a nurse, and the ‘digital plaster’ which, when attached to a patient, can collect data remotely without the use of wires or monitors.

One of the most ambitious designs is the ‘self-assembling endosurgical prototype’, made from 15 component parts which are swallowed separately and form within the body to carry out surgery.

The exhibition runs from 8 September to 23 December at the Hunterian Museum, London WC2.

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